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EDA & Switzerland: 10 years of cooperation

Ten years ago, to the day, on 16 March 2012, was signed the ‘Framework for cooperation between the European Defence Agency and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport of the Swiss Confederation’. 

This so-called Administrative Arrangement (AA), the second of only four AA so far signed by the Agency with non-EU countries, sets the frame for enabling the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) to participate in specific EDA projects and programmes related to research and technology (R&T) as well as armaments cooperation, in a spirit of mutual benefits and reciprocity. Since then, cooperation between participating EDA Member States and the DDPS has continuously deepened. Initially mainly focussed on R&T, Switzerland’s engagement at EDA has progressively expanded also into capability development and training.  

“The way our Administrative Agreement with Switzerland was filled with life and active engagement in joint projects and programmes over the past decade is exemplary of how the Agency and European third countries can and should engage in defence cooperation in a mutually beneficial and reciprocal way. I can only commend the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport for this collaborative attitude end encourage it to continue this path”, said EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý.

“Cooperation with the European Defence Agency is of central importance. The cooperation has gained momentum over the last 10 years. This development confirms that the cooperation with the European Defence Agency is the right way forward for Switzerland. The current situation in Europe shows that cooperation, especially in the technical development areas, is more important than ever. International collaboration and partnership, based on humanitarian principles, are the best means against armed conflicts and for peaceful coexistence”, said Ambassador Rita Adam, the Head of the Swiss Mission to the European Union.

Today, Switzerland is involved in six EDA Capability Technology Groups (CapTechs) and has joined several research projects such as, for instance, the Protection of Autonomous Systems Against Enemy Interference (PASEI) project in the land domain. Switzerland is also involved in several capability development activities, from cyber to Countering Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED), and is also sharing its national defence planning priorities with the Agency to support the identification of possible collaborative opportunities with EDA countries. In addition to that, the country participates in a number of EDA activities where the Agency acts as the military voice towards wider EU policies, namely the Single European Sky Military Aviation Board (ESMAB) related to Single European Sky, and in the Consultation Forum on Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector. Concerning the area of synergies and enablers, multinational helicopter training is a clear priority for Switzerland which is about to join EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme. Switzerland is also actively participating in the Agency's Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum and taking part in several expert groups to build common approaches.